Shrimad Bhagavad-gita

by Narayana Gosvami | 2013 | 327,105 words

The Bhagavad-gita Verse 4.9, English translation, including the Vaishnava commentaries Sarartha-varsini-tika, Prakashika-vritti and Rasika-ranjana (excerpts). This is verse 9 from the chapter 4 called “Jnana-Yoga (Yoga through Transcendental Knowledge)”

Sanskrit text, Unicode transliteration, Word-for-word and English translation of verse 4.9:

जन्म कर्म च मे दिव्यम् एवं यो वेत्ति तत्त्वतः ।
त्यक्त्वा देहं पुनर् जन्म नैति माम् एति सोऽर्जुन ॥ ९ ॥

janma karma ca me divyam evaṃ yo vetti tattvataḥ |
tyaktvā dehaṃ punar janma naiti mām eti so'rjuna || 9 ||

janma–birth; karma–activities; ca–and; me–My; divyam–transcendental; evam–thus; yaḥ–who; vetti–knows; tattvataḥ–in truth; tyaktvā–having given up; deham–the present body; punaḥ–again; janma–birth; na eti–does not accept; mām–Me; eti–attains; saḥ–he; arjuna–O Arjuna.

O Arjuna, My birth and activities are transcendental. One who knows this in truth does not take another birth after giving up the present body; rather he assuredly attains Me.

Commentary: Sārārtha-Varṣiṇī Ṭīkā

(By Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura; the innermost intention of the commentary named ‘the shower of essential meanings’)

“One will only become perfectly successful when he has understood the essence of the transcendental nature of My birth and activities, which are endowed with the characteristics described in the previous verses.” This verse, beginning with the word janma, is spoken to explain this. Śrīpāda Rāmānujācārya and Śrīpāda Madhusūdana Sarasvatī explain that the word divya means ‘non-material’, or ‘transcendental’ (aprākṛta)–and Śrīla Śrīdhara Svāmī has translated it as alaukika, ‘not of this material world’. The material world (loka) is created by material nature; therefore, the word alaukika means ‘not of this material world’. Śrīla Śrīdhara Svāmīpāda also implies that Bhagavān’s birth and activities are non-material, or aprākṛta. [Literally, a means ‘not’, and prākṛta means ‘of material nature’.] Consequently, because the birth and activities of Śrī Bhagavān are aprākṛta and beyond the modes of nature, they are eternal.

In the Bhagavat-sandarbha, Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī refers to this subject in his explanation of the verse, “na vidyate yasya ca janma karma–the Supreme Personality of Godhead has no material birth or activities” (Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 8.3.8). He explains that, although this matter cannot be reconciled by logic, it must be accepted on the strength of statements from the Vedas and from the Smṛtis, even though it is beyond reason and argument.

In this regard, it is also said in the Puruṣa-bodhinī Śruti of Pipalāda-śākhā:

eko devo nitya-līlānurakto bhakta-hṛdy antar-ātmā

Eternally engaged in His own pastimes, the one Lord in His form as the indwelling witness of all enters within the hearts of His devotees.

Regarding the eternality of Śrī Bhagavān’s birth and activities, detailed descriptions have been given in various places in the nectarean Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam.

“After hearing My statements such as yo vetti tattvataḥ (Gītā 4.9), ajo’pi sann avyayātmā (Gītā 4.6) and janma karma ca me divyam (Gītā 4.9), one who understands the eternal nature of My birth and activities with theistic intelligence, not depending on empiric knowledge, does not have to take birth again in this material world.”

“There is a Gītā statement (17.23), ‘oṃ tat sad iti nirdeśo brahmaṇas tri-vidhaḥ smṛtaḥ–the Vedas and yajñas were originally created from these three words [oṃ tat sat] of the brāhmaṇas.’ They who understand the word tat in this statement to mean brahma, the Supreme, do not have to take birth again after giving up their present body. Rather, it is assured that they attain Me.” Here, a superior meaning is attributed to the phrase, ‘giving up the body’. “Such a person does not take another birth after quitting the body. Instead, he attains Me even without giving it up.”

Śrīpāda Rāmānujācārya writes, paraphrasing Śrī Kṛṣṇa, “True knowledge of My transcendental birth and activities completely destroy all sins that impede one on the path to attaining My full shelter. Only those dear devotees who have taken shelter of Me attain Me, even in this very life.”

Commentary: Sārārtha-Varṣiṇī Prakāśikā-vṛtti

(By Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja; the explanation that illuminates the commentary named Sārārtha-varṣiṇī)

They who, by the grace of the spiritual master and the Vaiṣṇavas, realize that Śrī Bhagavān takes a transcendental birth and performs transcendental activities through the medium of His potency of inconceivability, or acintya-śakti, attain eternal service to Him in this very life by the mercy of His pleasure-giving potency (the hlādinī-śakti). On the contrary, they who consider the birth and activities of Śrī Kṛṣṇa to be mundane are overpowered by ignorance. They wander in the cycle of birth and death, afflicted by the threefold miseries.

Lord Brahmā has also said in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (2.7.29) “tat karma divyam iva–the activities of Śrī Bhagavān are indeed divine.” Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura has clarified this point in his Bhāgavatam commentary on this verse. “In reality, all of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s activities are transcendental.”

Furthermore, it is stated:

na vidyate yasya ca janma karma vā na nāma-rūpe guṇa-doṣa eva vā
tathāpi lokāpyaya-sambhavāya yaḥ sva-māyayā tāny anukālam ṛcchati

Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (8.3.8)

For the Supreme Lord, there is no birth, action, name, form, qualities, fault and so forth. Nonetheless, He perpetually accepts these attributes by His transcendental potency for the creation and destruction of the material world.

The explanation of the above verse by Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī is significant and can be referred to in his Bhāgavat-sandarbha and Krama-sandarbha.

The Śrutis have described Bhagavān as devoid of a fruitive mentality (niṣphala), inactive (niṣkriya), without material contamination, or faultless (nirañjana), formless (nirākāra), indescribable (aśabdam), imperishable (avyaya) and so forth. It is stated like this because He is beyond material qualities. Thus, in specific Śrutis such as the Chāndogya Upaniṣad (3.14.4), He is called sarva-karmā, He who performs all activities; sarva-kāma, He who has all types of desires; sarva-gandha, He from whom all fragrance emanates; sarva-rasa, He who embodies all transcendental mellows; and so on.

This is corroborated in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (6.4.33):

yo’nugrahārthaṃ bhajatāṃ pāda-mūlam anāma-rūpo bhagavān anantaḥ
nāmāni rūpāṇi ca janma-karmabhir bheje sa mahyaṃ paramaḥ prasīdatu

To bestow mercy upon those who worship His lotus feet, Bhagavān –though free from material names, forms and other attributes –accepts various transcendental forms and names through His different incarnations and activities. May that unlimited Lord, whose opulence is inconceivable, be pleased with me.

They who are Bhagavān’s devotees achieve Him even while living within this body. Kṛṣṇa says, “yānti mām eva nirguṇāḥ–they who are free from the modes attain Me” (Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 11.25.22). While commenting on this verse, Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura writes that the word laya (dissolution) is not mentioned here. This clarifies Kṛṣṇa’s point: “Upon becoming transcendental, My devotees attain Me, even in their present body.”

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